It’s been a tumultuous time in the Mongrel household.
A once united house has been divided, with one member of the family opting to go against the grain and move away from the team she adopted when she moved in.
Mrs Mongrel has jumped ship and now sides with the Saints. HB Meyers is appalled, but he is a tolerant man, and thinks this may just be a passing fancy. What better way to sway her back to the brown and gold than to sit and watch the Hawks beat the Saints, right?
That was the plan.
How did things pan out?
Let’s just into the game review and find out.
ST KILDA V HAWTHORN – BRAWL IN THE FAMILY
MRS MONGREL – I dressed in team colours, HB did not. Also his shorts were ratty and have holes in them. We were enemies during the game, but it’s father’s day, so I suppose I had to be nice. I brought him some choc-chip cookies, but just so he knows we aren’t friends I made sure to give him the burnt ones. Can you imagine how awful I’d be if I was a genuine football fan?
He was quite concerned that I’ve ‘fallen’ away from his beloved Hawks. I know we’re a Hawks house. That’s fine. I have four or five teams; he just seems to have forgotten about the Suns, GWS and Petracca. I think I was put off the Hawks a bit when Roughy left. He was the shining, awkward star of the Hawks, and I’m just patiently waiting for the new Hawks Hero to stand up (and also send my daughter a cutie-pie birthday card – it’s part of being a toddler member).
But it’s funny to see him so perturbed so I’ve gone all in on this day of conflict. He’s asked me to watch the game and write the wrap up with him, in a very sweet but misguided attempt to get me to say nice things about the Hawks.
HB MEYERS – I have failed in my duty, Hawks. I have allowed someone to lapse and fall to the enemy. I was hopeful that today could sway her back. Alas, Hawthorn had other ideas.
After five goals in the first quarter, things were looking up. The free-flowing footy looked as though it might provide a high-scoring game, and with players like Gunston and Breust up forward, and with Membrey and King missing from the Saints’ line up, I felt we were in the box seat.
However, both coaches adjusted the game plans at quarter time and the defences got on top.
From that point, I felt the Saints were the better side. The midfield got on top and the Saints’ half back line reigned supreme. Over the second and third quarters, the only thing that kept the Hawks in the hunt was St Kilda’s failure to hit the scoreboard. As a result, as we turned for home, a 13 point lead gave us a sniff.
However, a four goal quarter to the Saints was enough to see them get home by 14 points. The Hawks had their chances, but the early inaccuracy was matched in the last quarter, with misses to Gunston, Lewis and Wingard very costly.
Have I lost her to St Kilda? Maybe. I haven’t told her about their history and their copious amounts of heartbreak over the years. Perhaps she’ll have to learn about that, herself.
WHERE WAS THE GAME WON/LOST?
MRS MONGREL – St Kilda were faster, scrappier and overall better looking. Their outfits were worse, but that’s not their fault. They handball with better accuracy, and I think some of their slick moves may have rattled the Hawks. In fairness, the Hawks were probably already pretty depressed about losing to the Crows.
The Saints play as a team – always feeding other people and not being selfish dickheads. Great work.
HB MEYERS – I’d give a bit of credit to the coaching of Brett Ratten for the win. After seeing the way the game was unfolding, the screws were tightened in that second quarter and the Saints got the game on their terms.
When you look at the players who had the most influence, it was like the haves v the have-nots across half back. The Saints had players like Ben Long, Nick Coffield and Ben Paton take control of the game in their area, consistently pushing up to the wings and stifling the Hawks’ attempts to go forward.
It’s quite amazing to see the amount of ball the St Kilda defence had in the second quarter. With the three above, throw in Jarryn Geary, Dougal Howard and Hunter Clark, you had 39 touches between them.
In stark contrast, the Hawks were lacking poise off half back, with Scrimshaw and Will Day looking likely, but lacking any real potency with their exits.
Then you jump to the third quarter and the influence of players like Rowan Marshall, Zak Jones and Jack Billings became a little too much. The Saints 2.5 in the third should have shut the gate.
WHO WERE THE BEST PLAYERS?
MRS MONGREL – Look. I don’t know. I wish I did. I can’t tell who most of the players are and I don’t know what counts as a good thing. So I’m not basing this much on footballing prowess.
Jonathon Marsh, wearing some zinc. Sun-smart, I like it. He also threw some grass in the air, which I’m sure HB once said was just for good luck. He certainly got some good luck at the end when he started throwing people off him like they were tiny babies.
Jack Steele. What a handsome fellow. Looks a bit like Daniel Day Lewis. Those girls who love Bailey Smith should turn their eyes to St Kilda, then throw them a bit of money. The power of the thirsty woman dollar is mighty and could save this club from any financial woes.
Dan Butler. He might be one of my favourites. He reminds me of Flower the skunk from Bambi.
Billings applied good pressure. Or so I heard. I think that must be a good thing. HB also got furious at Ben Long and quietly declared him “best on ground at the moment”, about half way through.
Ben Paton, also a bit of a looker. When things go wrong he looks devastated, like someone stole his dog.
Marshall has good hands. At one point, he took a contested mark that was pretty wild. He’s strong through the hips, which I now realise means “he’s got a booty”. But of course that’s not something HB would say so he talks about hips.
HB MEYERS – This is all St Kilda, sadly.
Nick Coffield was a star. I can’t believe he is playing at this level at just 20 years old. What a future he has.
The attack on the footy and ability to read the play of Ben Long was a real standout for the Saints. He had eight intercepts amongst his 18 touches, but it was his combative nature that was the highlight for me. I know this nature got him in trouble earlier in the season when he dropped Sean Darcy with a bump to the head… but between you and I reckon that was nowhere near as bad as it was made out to be – he kind of got him with his backside as he took the space of the fumbling, stumbling ruckman.
Anyway, Long was ultra-impressive and if I could pinch one player from the Saints, it would be him. He plays the kind of footy I like to watch.
Rowan Marshall was huge, and not just in stature. His sticky hands and contested work indicate just how good he is. He rated really highly in last year’s final Mongrel 50 and though he may not have had the same year, he is fast emerging as one of the best bigs in the game.
Looking at the Saints going in, I saw three rucks named and thought it would either be a big bonus or the move that cost them the game. With Marshall spending time forward, it proved to be the former. I love his workrate, he has great skills for a big bloke and is good in front of goal.
As for the others, Seb Ross was great in close and Jack Steele kept doing what Jack Steele does.
For the Hawks, I liked Wingard in the middle, Breust had an “almost” game and Will day continued showing plenty of promise despite some of his exit kicks going astray under St Kilda pressure.
WHAT MOMENTS STOOD OUT TO YOU?
MRS MONGREL – The Saints did some beautiful little things throughout the game to put the Hawks on their asses. At one point, Sinclair did a sneak (that’s the professional footy term for it) and handballed to Battle who tucked away an easy-peasy goal. It looked so swish; HB sighed loudly.
After that, Coffield used his luscious head of hair to help him take a huge dive and touch the ball as it was going through for what would have been a Hawks goal. I made a point of pointing this out, and HB folded his arms, hugging himself.
When the Saints got their first goal, I was pretty excited, mainly because we had the guy who I call ‘the good goal umpire’. Turns out the teams swap ends or something, because of the wind, but the goal umpires don’t. I unwillingly learn something new every week.
Jack Billings made a wild old goal, high and around the corner. Apparently this is not the same as a banana kick, which is where my expertise lies, so I’ll just say it looked good and leave it at that.
HB MEYERS – Ben Long’s attack on the footy, Rowan Marshall clunking marks and Brad Hill’s run were three things that stood out to me.
If I’m looking at Hawthorn, Wingard in the middle looked lively and it’s a move I would have liked to see about six weeks ago when no one was able to generate any run through there.
The constant elbows in the side from Mrs Mongrel every time St Kilda kicked a goal were also a real standout, as was her pouting when it seemed as though the Saints may have not made the most of their dominance in the third quarter.
WHAT WENT RIGHT?
MRS MONGREL – Marshall. I know this because HB said “FUCKING MARSHALL. Killer”. Equal annoyance and respect.
Tim O’Brien did enough good work that HB was in shock. “O’Brien again? I can’t believe it”. I can’t help but feel O’Brien was a shining light in an otherwise lacklustre side.
I don’t know if anyone has noticed, but Chad Wingard is starting to look a bit like Grug from The Croods.
HB MEYERS – Well, Tim O’Brien took some marks, which was completely unexpected. Tom Scully actually added a little bit of mongrel in the forward half when he ventured into the role after half time, and Will Day looked good again.
I reckon the Hawks just need to be patient with day – don’t ask too much too soon. He may want more responsibility and could be the player that jumps out of the box in 2021, but if he isn’t and we get another season of him running around at this level, that’s fine as well. He has already shown that he has the tools to be a very good player. Now, we just need to give him the time and space to be just that.
In terms of the Saints – I have already been generous enough with my praise… bastards.
They did the little things well – the little kicks and tap ons from Butler, the forward pressure from Jack Lonie and the unselfishness from Jack Sinclair.
WHAT WENT WRONG?
MRS MONGREL – For the first half, St Kilda players just kept losing their feet. It was like watching a bunch of young people in a country nightclub.
Kelli Underwood looks like she’s wearing her pyjamas. I’m convinced that whoever dresses the women at Foxtel is a trainee or just plain hates the hosts. I mean, poor old Sarah Jones has had a shocking run of outfits that make her look like a washed out Kmart mannequin, and now Kelli is in her wrinkly jimjams. I’d do a better job, and that’s saying something because I dress like a cross between a January gym-goer and an IT professional working from home.
HB MEYERS – We just don’t have enough skilled ball users and that’s been the case all year. Through the midfield we have grunt but no polish. Shiels, Mitchell, Worpel, O’Meara when he’s in – they can all win the footy but I don’t trust any of them to hit a leading teammate.
In terms of our defence, when you’re trusting Sam Frost with the kick ins, you’re asking for trouble. Losing Sicily has really hurt, and I think we’ll be okay with the emergence of Scrimshaw and day, but it’ll take time to build around those blokes.
In the meantime we have Frost, Frawley and Hardwick kicking us out, or into trouble. Yep, that’s where we’re at.
WHO WERE THE PLAYERS THAT DIDN’T CUT THE MUSTARD?
MRS MONGREL – Breust did terribly. He had a real rotten time. His excitement when he got a goal kind of showed how he was off his game. Tummy ache? Itchy parts? Who knows what happened, but I hope it clears up.
Sam Frost. I love Sam Frost more than any other Hawks player. Every time I hear that name, I can’t help but whisper “Sam Frost, Lady Detective”, and imagine a 2m tall woman in a trench coat, hiding behind trees. Sadly, our Sam Frost didn’t do a lot. Couple of marks, couple of kicks. No cases solved.
HB MEYERS – Look, no one was absolutely terrible – this was more a team-loss than any one player’s fault.
We were playing some pretty inexperienced kids, and that’d give you an indication as to why our ball use wasn’t great, but I don’t like having a heap of kids in the backline – that’s where the majority of our inexperience seemed to be.
Between Greaves, Day, Scrimshaw and Jiath we had 42 games of experience, and Scrimshaw has 25 of them. That is 66% of our defence with an average of 10.5 games to their name. I’m surprised they held up as well as they did.
WILL YOU BE SWAYED TO SUPPORT YOUR HUSBAND/WIFE AND SWITCH TEAMS?
MRS MONGREL – I mean, part of our marriage agreement was that I would support the Hawks, and HB would cater to my every whim. I think that still stands. I even told him he wasn’t acting upset enough by the loss so he hammed it up for me a bit. Now that’s love.
I am glad to say that I am a Hawks, St Kilda, Suns, Giants, Eagles and Melbourne supporter. It’s like the AFL ladder. Some will go up, some will go down, based largely on hair, good names and thighs. If I can use this to harass HB and mildly stress him out then more power to me. Right now, I am on board with the two best looking teams in the AFL. St Kilda and Melbourne. Quite frankly, if HB is going to switch teams then the collective handsomeness of the Saints and Demons would be what does it.
HB MEYERS – No… she knows the deal. Haha.
In a way, I am pleased for the Saints – they have West Coast next round and really, they needed this one to keep themselves in the middle of the finals mix. Whilst I would have loved a win to avoid the smug smiles in our house, I don’t mind the fact we’re getting a top notch pick this season.
If only there were a decent way of assessing which kid we should take… sigh.
MRS MONGREL – That’s it. I can’t handle live sports. I’m never watching another game again (aside from grand finals, and the odd occasion where the old HB asks). Over time we’ve had a few unhinged people come at us because of our articles, and I always think that they should back away from sports. I stand by that, because sports turn me into a crazy and aggressive person, and I should spare my family that.
HB MEYERS – Well, it’s Father’s Day – I get to choose dinner, so all is not terrible.
The Hawks had their chances, but really, the Saints were a much better team. I worry about Tom Mitchell in terms of getting back to his best, and I guess I start looking at the draft and trade period now. I’m a Hawks supporter – I am not used to us being shitty for long.
Did you know we have memberships here at The Mongrel, right? We are small, we’re independent and we’ve knocked back cash from the gambling industry as I reckon I’d be a massive hypocrite if I complained about all the gambling ads on AFL coverage and then sold out to them. For 40-80c per day you get access to our wingman rankings, defensive rankings, weekly player rankings as well as members-only columns and early access to my Good, Bad and Ugly evening game reviews.
Plus you help us grow. Come on… click the image below and help an old mongrel out.